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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 December 2020) . . Page.. 118 ..


Belconnen Local Hero awards

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for Human Rights and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (4.31): There is an enormously strong community spirit right across Canberra, and especially so in Belconnen. This was highlighted this year with the Westfield Belconnen Local Hero awards. The awards recognise members of our community who make a positive impact on their local communities and on the environment. Importantly, the nominations come from the community. Once finalists are chosen, the top three of those finalists are decided by a vote from the community, and those top three are each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisations.

This year, there were 26 nominees for Belconnen, across a range of organisations, from community groups to arts organisations, animal support charities and clean-up bodies. The nominees were largely women, which was incredibly pleasing to see. This was whittled down to just six finalists, whose names are familiar to many in this place: Elizabeth Lefevre, from the Younger Women’s Cancer Support Group, ACT and surrounding region; Sue White, from the Scullin Community Group; Sharon Leigh-Hazell, from Florey Neighbourhood Watch; Tim Miller, from Lids4Kids; Caroline Odgers, from GIVIT, and Marilyn Richards, from the ACT Wizards Tenpin Bowling. This is an extraordinary achievement for these finalists, and I was so pleased to see their hard work and commitment to their communities recognised in such a public way.

But it did come down to just three. Congratulations, first, to Elizabeth, or Beth. Her name will be familiar to many of us here because she gave me permission to share her story in this place in late 2019, when I moved a motion for a dedicated fertility preservation facility for female cancer patients of reproductive age. Three years ago, Beth was on maternity leave with four-month-old twins and was caring for her three-year-old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Elizabeth soon discovered a gap in support for younger women with cancer and started an online group that grew into the Younger Women’s Cancer Support Group for the ACT and surrounds. It gives women under 50 a safe place to ask questions, vent, socialise and support each other. This complements the work of local organisations like Bosom Buddies ACT, which has provided invaluable support. Issues for younger women include family responsibilities, career, sexuality and self-esteem. Members raise awareness about challenges, stand up to make a difference and help to ensure that people are supported on their cancer journeys. This group will use its grant to register as a non-profit and will fund networking events and information sessions.

Congratulations, also, to Marilyn Richards, the president of the ACT Wizards Tenpin Bowlers for the last five years, after an involvement of more than 20 years. The volunteer-run league caters for bowlers aged 15 to 70. At last count there were almost 100 participants, with a waiting list of others eager to get in. There is a session every Saturday at Zone Bowling Belconnen, and Marilyn is there. She also frequently accompanies bowlers to interstate competitions. Marilyn aims to improve the lives of people with disability through the social, health and self-esteem benefits that are


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